The world is full of amazing things to see and do, but some sights stand out above the rest. To determine which bucket-list destinations most pique the public’s curiosity, travel insurance company Columbus Direct looked at Google’s Keyword Planner and noted the average monthly search volume for 150 popular landmarks. 

While the top 20 features plenty of the usual suspects – in the US, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and Central Park both made the cut, as did the UK’s Stonehenge, Big Ben, and the London Eye – some lesser publicized places are on the long list. Landmarks like the Tokyo Tower in Japan and Brandenburg Gate in Germany are less frequently searched, which, for travel-planning purposes, could indicate shorter wait times and smaller crowds.

Discounting anomalies for the Notre Dame fire, here are the landmarks with the highest search volume over the course of a year. 

India’s Taj Mahal with flowers in the foreground.
Worldwide, some 1.4 million searches are conducted monthly on the Taj Mahal © Manuel ROMARIS/Getty Images

1. Taj Mahal, India

With more than 1.3 million tags on Instagram and 1,417,650 monthly searches worldwide, India’s Taj Mahal is the world’s most Googled landmark – hardly a surprise, given that twice the population of Agra passes through its UNESCO World Heritage-listed gates each year. Searches in India make up nearly a third of that total, averaging more than 550,000 times over the past year, but they also rank highly in countries like Niger and Jordan.

High-angle view of the Lost Incan City of Machu Picchu, in Peru.
The ancient archaeological site was Googled more than 1.2 million times per month  © saiko3p/Shutterstock

2. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu is the most famous archaeological site in South America, and at 1,269,260 monthly searches worldwide, it’s also the one that holds the most allure for curious Googlers around the globe. While nearly 61,000 of those searches come from the UK, internet users from Curaçao and Costa Rica to French Polynesia, Portugal, and Paraguay are looking into the ancient Incan citadel as well. 

A Dubai Downtown cityscape at sunset, with Burj Khalifa and busy roads in the foreground
Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building, and the third-most Googled site in the world © Umar Shariff/Shutterstock

3. Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates

At 1,103,950 monthly searches and 828m high, the tallest building in the world comes in at number three – which makes sense, given that a stress-free visit requires planning in advance. Tickets can be booked online as much as 30 days out, both for general admission and for the two observation decks, the latter of which, on the 148th floor, is the world’s highest.

Sunlight hitting Niagara Falls from the Ontario, Canada, side
Niagara Falls is the only North American landmark to make the top five  © Marina Sorokina/500px

4. Niagara Falls, US and Canada

With thunderously rushing waters and mesmerising veils of mist, Niagara Falls claims 945,810 monthly searches worldwide. A natural wonder spanning the border of Canada and the US, it’s an unlikely honeymoon destination – and the only landmark in North America to make the top five. 

Eiffel Tower and Paris cityscape at sunset.
Manmade sites like the Eiffel Tower garnered more searches than natural landmarks © İlhan Eroglu/500px

5. Eiffel Tower, France

While natural standouts like South America’s Iguazú Falls and Australia’s Uluru are top destinations for international travellers, they don’t necessarily rack up the search numbers as manmade attractions like Burj Khalifa and the Eiffel Tower. The latter racks up 916,270 monthly searches worldwide, and it’s also the most Instagrammed site out there, according to one study. 

The rest of the best: 

6. Stonehenge

7. Mount Everest

8. Statue of Liberty

9. Sagrada Familia

10. Pentagon

11. Alcatraz

12. Big Ben

13. Empire State Building

14. London Eye

15. Versailles

16. Pompeii

17. Alhambra

18. Central Park

19. Times Square

20. Colosseum

21. Buckingham Palace

22. Moulin Rouge

23. Blue Lagoon

24. Oxford University

25. Portofino

26. Tower of London

27. Great Wall of China

28. British Museum

29. Yellowstone National Park

30. Mount Rushmore

31. Angkor Wat

32. Kilimanjaro

33. Golden Gate Bridge

34. Tower Bridge

35. Mount Fuji

36. Arc de Triomphe

37. Death Valley

38. Windsor Castle

39. Berlin Wall

40. Hagia Sophia

41. Brooklyn Bridge

42. The Shard

43. Westminster Abbey

44. Loch Ness

45. Matterhorn

46. N Tower

47. Sydney Opera House

48. Leaning Tower of Pisa

49. Neuschwanstein Castle

50. Sistine Chapel

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Peru; Shutterstock ID 133358189; your: Ben N Buckner; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: PromPeru partnership


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